There are lots details to manage when you relocate to a new home, so it’s important to get an early start on the job so that everything is in order when the moving van arrives.
Two months before moving day is probably too early to begin wrapping plates and glasses, but it’s a good time to begin laying the groundwork for a smooth operation. Take action on these 10 steps and you’ll be way ahead of the game:
Begin gathering estimates from moving firms
As you begin to look at moving companies, it’s a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the firm you choose has a first-rate reputation.
Take the time to learn about your level of liability if any of your items are lost or damaged. By law, if you’re moving to another state the mover’s estimate must contain full-value protection of your belongings, unless you opt-out. You can instead choose the minimum protection of 60 cents per pound, which is not recommended.
Movers will likely ask for a small down payment, especially during busy seasons. But be wary of carriers that require large down payments or payment in advance.
Make sure to get any agreement with a mover in writing, and be available by phone on moving day.
Also, ask questions about any part of the agreement that you don’t understand. If the carrier is hesitant to clarify the terms, or you aren’t satisfied with the answers you’re receiving, talk with another mover.
Budget for moving expenses.
It’s time to take a realistic look at how much money you’ll need to set aside to pay for your move. The American Moving & Storage Association says the average cost of a move within your own state is $1,170 – moving to another state costs around $5,630. Worldwide ERC, an executive relocation organization, estimates the average move within the United States is $12,459.
Other expenses are likely to accrue. Some utilities demand deposits and connection fees to hook up electricity, gas, cable TV and phone connections. It’s a good idea to check on what you’ll owe and be prepared to pay.
The cost of replacing items that you aren’t bringing along, from the spices in your kitchen cupboard to cleaning supplies, can add up. Take an inventory of the things you’re likely to need and add that to your moving budget.
Start a special folder for important paperwork
As you make arrangements to move you’ll accumulate a lot of important documents, including estimates, agreements, receipts and other paperwork. Avoid having to search for a critical document when you hands are full with other moving tasks. Not only is it important to save the original documents in a manila folder that’s easy to find, you’ll probably want to scan each one and save electronic versions in PDF format, just in case.
Start researching your new community
Chances are you’ve already researched a lot of data about your new neighborhood. What you’ve learned about property values, crime statistics, the quality of public schools and the availability of good hospitals probably helped you decide to buy or rent in the new location. But there’s still a lot of information you need to take in to make your transition more comfortable. Look for nearby stores, farmers’ markets, parks, restaurants and auto repair shops. A great source of information is local real estate agents. You might also try knocking on some doors on your new block and speaking with your soon-to-be neighbors. They may help point you toward some excellent hiking trails or bike paths, and any other kind of recreational facility that you and your family enjoy.
Collect healthcare information
You’ll probably rest easier knowing that your medical, dental, vaccination and prescription records are all safely collected in your file cabinet or on your computer. You may have to pay a small fee to your medical and dental practitioners, but this is a good time to gather them all into one place, especially if you’re planning an out-of-state move.
Ask doctors for referrals in your new city
Your present doctor could be the best source to consult when you’re looking for care in your new neighborhood. Physicians often have connections to doctors in other locales through medical school or a fellowship program. You may want to collect a few names, then look them up online to see how patients rate them. There are a number of online sites that can provide that information. Then find out if the doctor is taking new patients and accepting your health insurance. Be sure to find out how far the doctor’s office is from home.
Other records to transfer
This is a good time to begin transferring school records to the new location.
You might want to provide copies of your child’s latest classroom work, particularly in math, science and English, as well as letters from teachers or counselors discussing your child’s strengths, interests or weaknesses. A list of the textbooks the child was reading, including the author’s name and publisher information may help the pupil adjust more quickly to the new environment.
Bring information about any extracurricular activities he or she participated in, and be sure to have medical records and proof of immunizations on hand.
Round up copies of legal and financial records
Begin organizing your record-keeping system now. Keeping your legal documents and financial records in order can save you lots of time. You can prepare for a meeting with an attorney or financial adviser in an hour rather than a week. The same principle applies to birth certificates, immunization records, wills, vehicular titles and other vital documents. You’ll feel more secure in the knowledge that important papers aren’t lost or simply buried under other unfiled documents.
Find Out About Your Insurance Needs
Call your insurance agent to see what changes you need to make to your new policy.
Homeowners insurance can protect your home’s structure and other structures on your property, such as fencing or a shed. It may also offer liability protection, for example, if someone is injured on your property. It’s a good idea to check with your insurance agent to find out the limitations of your coverage, and to decide whether you might need to increase protection.
An insurance agent can also make sure that your homeowners policy covering your old house ends just as your coverage on your new home takes effect. There should be no gap in coverage as you transfer to your new property.
Club memberships may be cancelled or transferred
Contact your health club and other organizations and groups to either cancel or transfer memberships. If your health club doesn’t have a gym close enough to your new home, you may want to find something nearer.